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DFS Golf Picks This Week & Expert Rankings for the 2022 Players Championship

Geoff Ulrich



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The first big event of 2022 is here as The Players Championship begins this Thursday. The Players may not be a major, but the field is the same (or better) than the biggest events on the PGA calendar, which means big contests on DraftKings and FanDuel and plenty of solid daily fantasy golf picks options. The only top-50 players who are not in the field this week are Bryson DeChambeau (injury) and Phil Mickelson (mutiny), and this season marks the third year in a row that the event will be played in March.

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The Players Championship will again be held at TPC Sawgrass, a Pete Dye-designed venue that was created specifically for this event back in 1981. The course plays as a traditional par 72 around 7,200-7,300 yards depending on setup. While the venue is not overly long, the variance at Sawgrass tends to be massive. Water comes into play on nearly every hole and the small greens and stadium-like setting on several holes give it a claustrophobic feel where small misses can become big numbers. The emphasis is more on execution and course management than pure power, so it is not shocking that the event has seen a wide swatch of winners. While power may not be necessary, great ball striking is still needed, along with a solid around-the-green game to counteract the tricky greens and traps that players will inevitably find their way into at some point this week. For 2022, there could be some abnormally cool and wet weather as well, making birdies a premium this week in daily fantasy.

DFS Golf Rankings & Expert Picks: Players Championship

TPC Sawgrass Stats and Info

  • Driving distance here is typically five to seven yards less than the average tour stop. Sawgrass has plenty of forced layup holes where players will need to club down to avoid water or take trouble out of play. As a result, driving accuracy numbers tend to be quite high.
  • The forced layups also lead to more long approaches, as the most popular basket of distance this week is from over 200 yards.
  • Winners at TPC Sawgrass also tend to excel around the greens. Scrambling here is tough, and the field typically only gets up and down around 50 to 55% of the time. The last five winners here have gained 1.5 strokes or more around the green for the week of their win and three of the last five have gained 2.5 strokes around the green for the week.

Putting Splits

The greens at The Players Championship are TifEagle Bermuda. The Bermudagrass tends to be more dormant here this time of year, but this article will still be using Bermuda putting splits as a guide. Here is a more general look at some of the best and worst Bermuda putters in the field relative to their strokes gained on other surfaces. Use caution with these in your fantasy golf picks; they are not the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.

Positive Bermuda Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Russell Henley: +13 strokes on Bermudagrass, -16 on all other surfaces
  2. Scottie Scheffler: +17 on Bermudagrass, -11 on all other surfaces
  3. Louis Oosthuizen: +26 on Bermudagrass, +11 on all other surfaces
    *+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost

Negative Bermuda Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

1. Patrick Cantlay: -2 on Bermudagrass, +31 on all other surfaces
2. Abraham Ancer: +6 on Bermudagrass, +28 on all other surfaces
3. Jason Kokrak: +10 on Bermudagrass, +46 on all other surfaces

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DFS Golf Picks & Fantasy Golf Rankings for DraftKings & FanDuel

Jon Rahm: Grades: A+, Values: C, B

There is a stacked field this week but the projections certainly see a clear gap between the best player in the world and the rest of the elites. Jon Rahm comes in with a point projection in the Awesemo Model that is 5.5 points higher than his next closest competitor. Rahm is coming off a weekend where he could not gain much traction at Bay Hill and yet still managed to place a solid 17th. His issues have all been around and on the greens of late. Rahm has now lost multiple strokes putting in three straight events but has managed to keep his ball-striking solid as ever, gaining over four strokes both Off the Tee and on Approach in each of his last three events.

In short, Rahm is crushing the ball right now but is simply not capitalizing on his opportunities. He will not continue to lose strokes in those areas forever though and is coming in with a sub-15% ownership projection this week, which makes him an extremely appealing target. Backing Rahm should help give your lineups a more unique starting point and he carries the most upside of this field, despite not producing consistently like over the past month.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 14.4% | FanDuel: 23.9%

The Stats:

  • Has gained over eight strokes ball-striking in each of his last three starts.
  • Has gained over 4.5 strokes on Approach in his last two Players Championship starts; has finished 12th and 9th in his last two Players appearances.

Tyrrell Hatton: Grades: B,  Values: A, B

If you are planning to start with the most expensive player on the board, then seeking out the real upside under $8,000 for this week should be your next task. Tyrrell Hatton has often let fans down in big events but try not to let that sway you when a player has the kind of form and fantasy projections that Hatton brings this week. He nearly rallied to force a playoff at Bay Hill in his last start and has now landed multiple top-five finishes in 2022. He will be making his fifth Players Championship appearance this week and certainly feels like a player who is ready to break through for a big week at this event.

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Hatton has missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass in three of his four previous visits but has played well at other Florida stops, mainly Bay Hill, where he has won and has multiple top-10 finishes. Maybe his propensity to eject in big events steers you away from him in cash games but he has the largest point projection of any player under $8,000 in salary in the Awesemo model this week, meaning his upside under $8,000 is essentially unmatched.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 14.6% | FanDuel: 12.9%

The Stats:

  • Has finished 6th or better in three of his four starts of 2022
  • Ranks top-20 in proximity from 200+ yards

Low-Owned Daily Fantasy Golf GPP Flier

Mackenzie Hughes

The field is so deep this week that any true pivot play under the $7,000 mark on DraftKings needs to have sub-5% ownership projections to be considered a true sleeper. Right now it does appear as if Mackenzie Hughes is trending with just such ownership making him an intriguing roster for daily fantasy golf purposes. It is easy to forget, but it was just five starts ago that Hughes finished 2nd at The RSM Classic, on a venue that correlates quite well with TPC Sawgrass. Hughes cooled off to start the year but popped up again with a solid effort at the Honda, where he gained strokes throughout the bag, even if he only finished 48th.

Hughes’ putter can get red hot and this will be his fourth-time playing TPC Sawgrass this season. He has now gained over five strokes putting on the Sawgrass greens in two of those three career starts and finished 16th on his debut back in 2017, which also featured tougher conditions. With poor weather on tap, an elite putter like Hughes could easily grind out a surprising result at a venue that evens the playing field for him vs. many of the bigger hitters in the field.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 3.4%

Top Three Under 5% in DraftKings Fantasy Golf This Week

This section will target three players that should end up under or close to 5% ownership in bigger DraftKings GPPs. These picks are boom/bust players with an almost 100% focus on the upside.

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C.T. Pan ($6,800)

One player who feels like a good fit for TPC Sawgrass is C.T. Pan, who picked up his only PGA TOUR win at Hilton Head, another classic Pete Dye design. Pan finished 16th in his last start, a strong effort at the Honda, and comes in with almost no heat and sub 2% roster projections.

Keegan Bradley ($6,900)

American Keegan Bradley has been playing solid to start the year and even showed some pop in unexpected areas last week when he gained 5.5 strokes putting and around the green, combined. He has made the cut at Sawgrass each of the last five years with two top-20 finishes.

Martin Laird ($6,800)

Random veterans doing well at TPC Sawgrass has always been a trend at this event and Martin Laird feels like a player who could end up high on some leaderboards this weekend. He has finished top-five at Sawgrass twice in his career and has gained over 1.5 strokes on Approach in four of his last five starts.

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Looking for more DFS PGA golf picks and PGA DFS picks? The Yahoo! DFS PGA projections, the PGA DFS showdown projections and the PGA DFS ownership projections for this week are made and used by Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world. DraftKings PGA DFS rankings will be posted at least a day in advance of any tournament.

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